This Monday and every Monday at 11:00 a.m. you are invited to join in silent prayer as the Good Shepherd bell is rung to mark lives lost and affected by the coronavirus pandemic. We will ring along with other faith communities in Decorah and on behalf of communities without bells.

 Prayers for this time have been provided by Sojourners Ministry and can be accessed here:  National Mourning and Lament Prayers  

 You have FOUR options to engage in prayer in community …

  • Go outside your house to hear the bells being rung throughout Decorah.
  • Pray inside at 11:00 a.m. in solidarity with others in our community.
  • Stay in your vehicle at Good Shepherd and listen to the bell.
  • Pray with others in Good Shepherd’s backyard. You are most welcome to do this if it is safe for your health, and …
    • You are not displaying COVID-19 symptoms.
    • You are wearing a mask.
    • You practice physical distancing by standing at least 6 feet apart.
    • Please bring a copy of the prayers with you to the backyard or pull them up on your phone. A few copies will be available in the dropbox by the parking lot door.
    • Please let neighbors and guests of Good Shepherd know that they are welcome to participate.
    • We will pray silently on our own using the handout or our own prayers as the bell is rung.

Physical distancing is hard to do especially when others are not doing it. This brief gathering in our backyard can provide an opportunity to practice physical distancing and practice asking for what is safe for us and our neighbors. Together we can say to one another, “I’m going to step back now to protect you,” or “Let’s stand a bit further apart here.” If we can do this well, we will be able to do more in the backyard together, soon!

As we begin gathering again as congregations, congregations will need to create a new culture. “This new culture will be marked by a willingness to put the safety of others ahead of our personal preferences and a willingness to hold ourselves and others accountable. It will require a culture that is willing to call someone out with love and clarity when it sees a new protocol slipping. Safely reopening will only be possible through a mass commitment to new norms and a culture that is constantly asking, ‘How can we help not be the one to make someone else sick?’ Reopening will require training a cadre of champion leaders who will build a new culture of doing church.” Rev. Alex Shanks: